With North Wales named as one of Lonely Planet’s top regions for 2017, there’s never been a better time to have an adventure in this land of rolling green hills, fairytale castles and captivating coastlines.
1. Catch a wave or 2
Set within the beautiful mountainous landscape of Snowdonia National Park, Surf Snowdonia is a unique inland surf centre. At the state-of-the-art lagoon, complete with wave machine, you can try out surfing in safety and with expert tuition. You can also have a go at kayaking and paddle-boarding, or brave an aquatic obstacle course. The on-site café serves up locally sourced food and you can even stay in the glamping site just a few steps from the water’s edge.
2. Soar through the sky
Zip World is the ultimate destination for anyone who’s ever wanted to soar through the sky. At ziplining headquarters, in the beautiful North Wales countryside, you can choose from several zip lines to take on, including the world’s fastest zip line (reaching speeds of over 100mph!), and a unique underground zip wire course.
Whichever adventure you choose, the views here are incredible – dramatic slate cliffs give way to lush green hills which lead out to the shimmering sea. And if zipping through the sky isn’t enough adventure, Zip World is also home to Bounce Below, a gigantic and fantastically fun trampoline situated underground in a historic slate mine.
3. Leap into the sea
The gorgeous and dramatic coastline of Pembrokeshire in Wales is just made for coasteering – rock climbing, diving into the sea and exploring sea caves. It’s a great way to take in the beauty of the landscape from a unique perspective, venturing to spots that are unreachable by land.
Not for the faint-hearted, you’ll be kitted out in safety gear before taking to the sea: be prepared for thrills, surprises, and views of the coast as you’ve never seen it before!
If you like a more leisurely pace
1. Hike the coast path
The Wales Coast Path is the world’s only coastal path to span the entire length of a country. There are 870 glorious miles to explore, with plenty to see whether on a quick stroll, a day walk or a longer hike.
Take a gentle hike to Conwy for stunning views across turquoise bays, explore the wild peaks of Snowdonia, or visit one of Wales’ many nature reserves for a glimpse of oyster catchers, shearwaters and arctic terns.
2. Take one of the world’s great train journeys
Image credit: Hefin Owen
The Snowdon Mountain Railway runs from the foothills of Snowdonia National Park to the summit of Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales, and unsurprisingly it offers breathtaking views along the way.
Ascend 3,560ft (1,085m) in style in the historic locomotive, and alight at the UK’s only mountain railway station. You’ll also get to see spectacular views across Snowdonia National Park, a mystical land of mountains and a filming location for the forthcoming King Arthur: Legend of The Sword.
3. Conquer a fairytale castle
Wales is a land of castles and it’s impossible to choose the best, but Conwy Castle surely comes close. Like a castle straight from the pages of a storybook, it cuts a dramatic figure against the North Wales coastline. Explore the beautifully preserved fortress and admire unspoilt views from the battlements.
Together with Conwy Castle, Beaumaris, Caernarfon and Harlech Castles form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among others not to be missed are Caerphilly Castle, Wales’ largest, and gothic-style Castle Coch.
Conquer Wales’ castles with a money-saving Cadw Pass, which gives you entry to more than 100 historic sites, including all of those listed here.